OXFORD – Inside the museum at the Oxford County Fair, there’s a place for everything, and everything has its place.

At least, that’s been the goal this year of Curators Bill and Gretchen Neidlinger, who have spent tons of volunteer time, along with others preparing the building for this year’s fair Sept. 15-18.

They’ve built balconies on both sides of the museum to free up floor space for the displays of farm tools and machines that were commonly used throughout Oxford County in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They’ve built display cases and catalogued each item to create a much more orderly, museumlike atmosphere.

And they have added something for the women this year: a kitchen, with an old steam iron, wood and coal cookstove, Singer Sewing Machine, and other examples of early housewifery.

“We are very much in need of an icebox,” said Gretchen, adding that no donation is too small. They are looking for old ice fishing poles, a metal fly swatter, an old cookie jar, canister set, small glass creamers, or an old egg crate.

“I’m very excited about this area,” said Gretchen, standing in the kitchen area just inside the museum entrance, guarded by Mariah the dress mannequin. “I think we can really interest the whole family now in the museum, not just dad.”

Bill said it’s true, “The men google over the tools,” while their wives tug on their sleeves to be on their way. The men love studying machines and tools like the stump puller, push lawn mowers, snow pusher, spike harrow, walking plow, cultivator, threshing machine and old sleighs.

The kitchen was seen as a way to interest the women in the life of the museum. Another recent offering is the harness racing history area, dedicated by Richard Wade in memory of Myrle L. Wade, a longtime harness racer at the Oxford County Fair.

The museum will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on fair days by the Neidlingers and other volunteers who can answer questions about the displays.

There will also be ongoing living history displays inside the museum during fair times.

For more information or to make a donation, call the Neidlingers at 743-7212.


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